An Open Letter to the Heifer Project

Posted by Bushel Basket in , ,

I wrote this letter for my friends Nicolette and Gina as part of their wedding gift. I have a great respect for the Heifer Project, and I support all of their work. The only other thing you need to know is that my friend is obsessed with Polar Bears.

Dear Heifer Project,

I am writing you this letter to highlight a grave oversight in your current business model and to suggest a corrective action that would enable you to better serve your clientèle. I am a regular donor to the Heifer Project and I gratefully support your organizations goals and methods. However, I am concerned that there seems to be one geographic location and set of peoples that are under served by your project. I speak of the Inuit, Eskimo, and other indigenous peoples of the arctic region and their need for polar bears.

Polar bears are an essential component of life in the Arctic north. They help control rampant tourist populations and serve as a deterrent to terrorists that attempt to enter North America through the relatively unguarded arctic terrain. Without polar bears, the penguin population of Greenland would have multiplied by 7,500% in the last ten years alone. None of us can forget what those blighted, flightless birds have done to the once majestic Antarctica, and the now lost city of Atlantis.

Yet, the usefulness of polar bears is not just limited to their predatory nature. Their ability to manifest their souls in external armor makes them excellent warriors, a fact not easily overlooked by our “former” panzer adversaries in Germany. Polar bears are our only native defense to protect against the Chinese trained attack yetis. Also, polar bears are the only known effective adversary to the dreaded Chuck Norris, whose powers are otherwise uncontrollable.

While I recognize that predatory animals have not traditionally been a part of Heifer Project's selection of animals, I feel this is an oversight that is long overdue for correction. We cannot restore the ecological balance only through food producing animals. The attack potential of the average rabbit or hare is negligible without divine or magical intervention. (rf. Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail) Geese, while their honk is terrifying, have a distinct lack of teeth or claws that would make them useful in native necklaces and other forms of art. I don't know what politically-correct, PETA supporting board of trustees you have, but if we want the scriptures to be true, the lion (or polar bear) cannot lay down with the lamb without our concerted effort to sustain the polar bear (or lion) population.

Lastly, I feel that the polar bear is amply suited for inclusion into the Heifer Projects listing of animals due to its extreme cuteness. I know previous additions to the product line have not gone as well as one might hope. I too was disappointed in the failure to couple food sustenance and electric power with the electric eel project. The banana slug offering did not develop as well as could have been hoped. Similarly, the king cobra pet project could have been improved in the design phase. I am interested to hear how the test run with cloned velociraptors develops, as the marketing potential is enormous. However, the polar bear, with it's glossy white fur, dark eyes, gore dripping fangs and previous product placement in Christmas time Coca Cola ads, is a ready marketing stream to be tapped. Also, by making the polar bear the new marketing logo for Heifer International, some competing mascots could be eliminated, including the Cadburry Bunny, Morris the cat, the Energizer Bunny, the Vlasic stork, and that sellout, Snuggle Bear.

Until such time as the polar bear is given its rightfully prominent place in the pantheon of animals included in the Heifer Project, I will continue to support the other Heifer Projects product lines. However, I implore you to not delay in your inclusion of the polar bear. It is my dream to see a polar bear in every city in America, marching proudly down main street, saving us from the scourge of toy poodles and lap dogs that have for too long run unchecked. I also worry that without polar bears, our cities are open targets to pirates, zombies, robots, Martians, ninjas, and other invaders.

Viva ursus maritimus!!!!


Mr. Greg Briggs

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Birthday reflections

Posted by Bushel Basket in

It's official, I survived another year. The big 33: 3x11, an even dozen years since I've been able to drink legally, or an even fifteen years since I started drinking. I survived my Jesus year without getting crucified, though I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. At any rate, I'm feeling a bit maudlin (in a good way) and been thinking about the state of things. No reflections on politics, just my musings. So, if you aren't interested in introspection, read no further.

Upon reflection, I can see three threads playing out in my life over the past year: becoming comfortable with where I am now versus where I feel I should be, a renewed respect for common decency, and shoes. The shoes one is easy to explain. I have horrible feet. It's something I inherited from both parents, pigeon toes from my Dad, and a complete lack of arch from my Mom. While it protected me from any possible military draft, after walking about 5 minutes, my feet ache. I've had prescription inserts since the age of 16. This year, I found shoes that actually feel good on my feet. Clarks, and their Privo line of shoes. I have begun to enjoy walking for the first time in memory. It really is changing my outlook on life. It's just so nice to not be in pain all the time.

As for becoming comfortable with where I am, well, I've been trying to not beat myself up as much for not being where I feel I "should" be. I have been viewing my life by what I don't have, instead of what I do. I'm not married, though most of my friends are at this point. I have not seen my call manifest as many of my classmates have. These are things that bring me down. However, I am becoming ok with where things are at. I no longer feel that my call has left, or that my call has been abandoned, but that I need to be on this longer path for a reason. Maybe it's just the tempo of my life, or that I need to learn more about myself, but I'm cool with things. I'm not starving, I have health insurance, and I have the ability to talk and explore my call while I do my job, which is something many people don't have. As for my lack of a relationship, I'm just damn tired of waiting for one. This is me. I may be lonely sometimes, but I am not going to classify myself as a success by whether or not I'm with someone. I am a family, and I don't need a wife or a child to prove anything.

Lastly, my new respect for common decency. It's really about simple things, about being aware of what's around me. Thanking the train conductor when I go to work. Remembering special events in the lives of those I know. Not ignoring the homeless person on the street. Hospitality and gift giving. Things that, frankly speaking, I'm not very good at. Part of it is simple reciprocity. As I struggle with coming to terms with where I am at now and crave moral support from others, I feel that I should try and be more supportive of others, as well. Of course, this is most easily visible during holidays, birthdays, and special occasions.

What I am finding harder that I thought is my greater awareness of others decent actions, or lack thereof, as I'm trying to be more attentive to my own. As a person who is inherently distrustful, it's been hard to stay open when common decency isn't reciprocated. This is true with a woman I tried dating this year, who kept canceling on me when we needed to talk things out. We never did have our talk, and it's hard for me to not be pissed off when I think about it. And, sad to say, as grateful as I am for all the messages I got for my birthday, I found myself wondering about the long term friends I haven't heard from. I know it's just an oversight, but it is a twinge in me.

All of this leads to what I hope to work on this next year. First is a thicker skin. I need to tone back the judgmental part of my psyche. Second is to work on being able to both express when I am bothered and to have forgiveness for what's bothering me. Lastly, now that I know I'm just on a longer path and I have the shoes for it, I need to enjoy the walk and make sure that I enjoy the journey.

So, thanks to God for another year to live and for all the good times and good people. I can't wait to see what will happen this year.

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D*mn it, why didn't I think of that?!?

Posted by Bushel Basket in , ,

On Metaefficent, there's a report about a solar startup company called Envision Solar that's developing solar canopies for mall parking lots. It is a genius idea, and I wish I'd thought of it. Parking lots are essentially wastelands, environmentally speaking, and this system seems to have the potential to address many of the issues of parking lots: heat island effect, light pollution, and collection of runoff water.

I applaud Envision Solar for their unique thinking. While the business speak words of "innovation" and "creativity" are often diluted, this is a unique effort to address multiple environmental issues at the same time. Now, if they'd only add on recharging ports for electric cars......

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7 Insane Conspiracies That Actually Happened

Posted by Bushel Basket in , , , , ,

On more than one occasion, I've been accused by some of my more right-wing family and acquaintances of being a conspiracy theorist. I've been known to say such wacky things as the United States government trained Osama bin Ladin and Saddam Hussein and overthrew democratic governments and supported dictators. I've been told that I've watched too many movies.

Well, has collected a list of "Seven Insane Conspiracies That Actually Happened." It's an interesting read, especially the one that relates to the Bush family. What disturbs me is how many of these took place within the last century. I consider that to be within living memory. It makes me wonder about what is being missed or obscured today. The reason we went to war in Iraq? Hmmm......

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Fun-alicious weekend!

Posted by Bushel Basket in ,

So, this weekend is shaping up to be quite a lot of fun. Going out to dinner tonight, and tomorrow is a double feature of fun.

I'm going to my first roller derby this weekend. This should rock in ways I can't even express. I'm hoping the sheer vicarious joy of watching women smash into each other while on wheeled skates should help burn off some built up stress. If watching doesn't do it, me yelling like a damn fool will.

And then, as if that wasn't cool enough, I am going to start crewing a sailboat this summer, starting tomorrow morning. A friend of a co-worker has a boat, and after wowing him with my bitchin' EC-SAR experience, he's more than happy to have me come out and help scrape the bottom of his boat. It might not sound like fun, but it's been a long damn time since I've been on a boat, and I am looking forward to some hard labor. It's been 13 years since I've last crewed a boat, and I have missed it.

With all that, I look forward to a great interfaith discussion at church on Sunday, all to get ready for graduation week at school.

In short, booyeah.

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